All-Time Favourite Cookies To Make This Chinese New Year 2020

You know Chinese New Year is approaching when supermarkets start displaying towering stacks of Chinese New Year goodies at the entrance of the store, most of which only make an appearance once a year. This year, why not make your own cookies? They're fun to make, a great way to get the whole family involved, and the best part -- you can get creative with flavours and control the amount of sugar. What's more? Homemade Chinese New Year cookies also make delightful gifts for your friends and family. This Chinese New Year 2020, we have put together 8 of the best Chinese New Year cookie recipes for any skill level. Put on an apron and let's start baking

In this article

  1. What is the significance of Lunar New Year goodies?
  2. What are the all-time favourite Chinese New Year cookie recipes?
  3. What are the best tips for packaging CNY cookies?
  4. What are the best CNY goodies to buy?

1. What is the significance of Lunar New Year goodies?

Giant Lunar New Year goodies

Before we dive into Chinese New Year cookie recipes, let’s learn more about the significance of CNY goodies. CNY goodies make up a large array of baked goods, crackers, crisps, savoury delights and more. While bingeing on your favourites every year, have you ever wondered what the significance of these New Year treats are?

Some Chinese New Year goodies get their meaning from homonyms, where certain words share the same pronunciation but have different meanings. Others carry symbolic meaning based on their resemblance to auspicious imagery such as gold bars or ingots. Here are 5 examples:

  • Niangao: Niangao directly translates to “year cake”. However, “gao” in Chinese also means “high” and symbolises reaching greater heights in the new year.
  • Pineapple tarts: The symbolism of pineapple tarts lies in its Hokkien word for pineapple, “ong lai”, which translates to “the arrival of prosperity or good fortune”.
  • Love letters: As the story goes, these letters were rolled into the wafers as a way for secret lovers to communicate in the past. Consuming the wafers also represents the idea that the lover’s words were taken to heart.
  • Hae bi hiam rolls: Prawns in Cantonese is “ha” which sounds like laughter, hence eating prawns during Chinese New Year represents happiness. The golden colour and shape are meant to evoke imagery of gold bars.
  • Bakkwa: A type of barbecued pork jerky, bakkwa is the sort of CNY snack beloved by both the young and old. The significance of bakkwa lies in its red colour, which is considered auspicious in Chinese culture.

2. What are the all-time favourite Chinese New Year cookie recipes?

Cookies To Make This Chinese New Year 2020 - Pineapple Tarts | Giant

Pineapple tarts

If there’s one Chinese New Year cookie that rules them all, it’s the pineapple tart. A staple during CNY, everyone has an opinion on what type of pineapple tart is their favourite and where the best places to get them are. Making these treats at home means you can swap out white sugar for unrefined sugar and add a dash of rum or even your favourite spices to the jam.

Recipe adapted from TheZongHan (Yield: 70 tarts)

Ingredients:

Jam

  • 2.4kg pineapple, skinned, cored and cut into small pieces
  • 500g sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick and 4 cloves (optional)
  • A splash of rum (optional)

Pastry

  • 250g unsalted butter, softened slightly
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 400g plain flour, sifted
  • 30gcorn starch, sifted

Egg wash

  • 2 egg yolks
  • A few drops of vegetable oil

Instructions:

Jam

  1. Blend the pineapple in a food processor until smooth. Strain the mixture to remove excess liquid.
  2. Transfer blended pineapples, cinnamon stick and cloves (if using) into a deep pan. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  3. Add sugar and continue cooking on medium-low heat, stirring constantly. The addition of sugar will make the filling susceptible to burning, so keep an eye on it.
  4. Once the jam is thick, sticky and has reached a deep golden colour, add a splash of rum (if using). Cook for 5 more minutes then transfer to a shallow tray and leave to cool. Remove cinnamon stick and cloves (if using).
  5. Once cool, divide and roll into 10g balls.

Pastry

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and salt together on medium speed until fully incorporated.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, egg yolks and vanilla extract. Slowly stream egg mixture into the butter and sugar mixture until smooth and silky.
  3. Add plain flour and corn starch and beat on low speed just until a dough forms and no traces of flour are visible. Wrap the dough tightly in clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for one hour.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 180 degrees C.
  5. Once the dough is chilled, flour your work surface and roll out the dough into 5mm thickness. Cut out shapes and place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Space the cut-out dough 1.5cm apart to allow even baking.
  6. Lightly brush the surface of the dough with egg wash and top with a pineapple jam ball.
  7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Leave to cool completely before storing in an air-tight container.

Cookies To Make This Chinese New Year 2020 - Butter Cookies | Giant

Butter cookies

Recipe adapted from Ms. Tam Chiak (Yield: 45 cookies)

Butter cookies are an all-time favourite in many Singaporean households during Chinese New Year. Fragrant and crumbly, it’s difficult to stop at one. Learn this simple recipe this Chinese New Year 2020.

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and icing sugar together on medium speed until pale and fluffy.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine plain flour and corn flour. On low speed, add flour mixture, half at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as required. Once there are no traces of flour visible, transfer to a piping bag with a star tip nozzle.
  4. Pipe dough onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until light golden brown. Leave to cool completely before storing in an air-tight container.

Cookies To Make This Chinese New Year 2020 - Condensed milk kopi cookies | Giant

Condensed milk kopi cookies

Recipe adapted from Marsha’s Baking Addiction. (Yield: 60 cookie)

If you’re looking for a cookie with a local twist, why not try this one inspired by the Singaporean coffee shop classic, kopi?

Ingredients:

  • 125g plain flour, sifted
  • 25g instant coffee powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder, sifted
  • ½ tsp baking soda, sifted
  • 2 tsp corn flour, sifted
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 115g unsalted butter, softened
  • 100g light brown sugar
  • 253g condensed milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Combine plain flour, instant coffee powder, baking powder, baking soda, corn flour and salt. Set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and light brown sugar together on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add the condensed milk and vanilla extract slowly and beat until fully incorporated.
  4. On low speed, add dry ingredients, a third at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl when required. Once there are no traces of flour visible, divide the dough into 15g balls and place onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Space the dough balls 2cm apart to allow for expansion while baking.
  5. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Leave to cool completely before storing in an air-tight container.

Cookies To Make This Chinese New Year 2020 - Salted egg yolk cookies | Giant

Salted egg yolk cookies

Recipe adapted from Guai Shu Shu (Yield: 40 cookies)

The salted egg yolk craze isn’t going anywhere. This savoury-sweet cookie takes your regular butter cookie to the next level.

Ingredients:

  • 140g plain flour, sifted
  • 60g milk powder
  • 60g potato starch, sifted
  • 120g unsalted butter, softened
  • 60g icing sugar
  • 6 salted egg yolk, steamed

Egg wash

  • 2 egg yolks
  • A few drops of vegetable oil

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 170 degrees C.
  2. Combine plain flour, milk powder and potato starch. Set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, icing sugar and salted egg yolks together on medium speed until pale and fluffy.
  4. On low speed, add dry ingredients, half at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl when required.
  5. Flour your work surface and roll out the dough into 1cm thickness. Cut out shapes and place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Space the cut-out dough 1.5cm apart to allow even baking.
  6. Brush lightly with egg wash.
  7. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown. Leave to cool completely before storing in an air-tight container.

Cookies To Make This Chinese New Year 2020 - Bakkwa shortbread cookies | Giant

Bakkwa shortbread

Recipe adapted from Food52 (Yield: 40 cookies)


Ingredients:

  • 180g plain flour, sifted
  • 43g rice flour, sifted
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 227g unsalted butter, softened
  • 100g sugar
  • 170 bakkwa, cut into small pieces
  • Flaky seasalt, for topping

Instructions:

  1. Combine plain flour, rice flour and salt. Set aside.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together on medium speed until pale and fluffy.
  3. On low speed, add flour mixture, a third at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl when required. Add bakkwa and mix until evenly distributed. Transfer the dough onto a floured work surface.
  4. Divide the dough and roll into 20cm logs, 3cm in diameter. Wrap in parchment paper and chill in the fridge for at least one hour.
  5. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees C.
  6. Once chilled and firm enough to cut, slice the logs 1cm thick and arrange onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  7. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes until golden brown. Leave to cool completely before storing in an air-tight container.

Cookies To Make This Chinese New Year 2020 - Cornflakes cookies | Giant

Cornflake cookies

Recipe adapted from TheZongHan

Cornflake cookies are delicious and remarkably quick and simple to make. If you have children, this recipe is a great way to get them involved in the CNY-prep.

Ingredients:

  • 90g plain cornflakes
  • 80g honey
  • 80g salted butter
  • 50g chopped nuts or candied orange peel (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 150 degrees C.
  2. Melt honey and butter on low heat in a saucepan.
  3. Add cornflakes and nuts/orange peel (if using) and toss to coat.
  4. Spoon into mini cupcake pans with liners.
  5. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes. Leave to cool completely before storing in an air-tight container.

Cookies To Make This Chinese New Year 2020 - Kueh loyang cookies | Giant

Kueh loyang

Recipe adapted from Kitchen Chaos (Yield: 40 cookies)

If you are feeling adventurous, this is the recipe to try. Unlike most cookies, kueh loyang is fried, not baked. Its intricate pattern and delicious crisp texture make it one of the most sought-after cookies during Chinese New Year.

Ingredients:

  • 250g rice flour, sifted
  • 4 tbsp plain flour, sifted
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 200g sugar
  • 400ml thick coconut milk

Vegetable oil for deep frying

Additional equipment: Kueh Loyang brass mould

Instructions:

  1. Combine rice flour, plain flour and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine eggs, sugar and coconut milk and whisk until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Add the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and whisk until smooth to form the batter.
  4. Heat a wok of oil until 180 degrees C. You can also test the heat with a wooden chopstick. If tiny bubbles are seen at the end of the chopstick, the oil is ready. Turn the heat down to medium.
  5. Place the mould in the oil for one minute to pre-heat.
  6. Remove the mould from the oil, shake off excess oil and dip into the batter until it covers the sides of the mould. Leave the top batter-free. Let the excess batter drip off the mould.
  7. Transfer the batter-coated mould into the hot oil and keep it submerged for about 15 seconds. Lightly shake the mould to release the kueh loyang. While the first kueh loyang is frying, repeat the process to make the subsequent cookies. Do not overcrowd the wok.
  8. Fry the kueh loyang until golden brown and adjust the heat accordingly. Remove from the oil and leave to cool on a wire rack while you continue with the rest of the batter.
  9. Once completely cool, store in an air-tight container.

Arrowhead Chips - CNY 2020

Image credit: wendyinkk.blogspot.com

Arrowhead chips

Recipe adapted from Kitchen Chaos

Another dangerously addictive CNY snack, arrowhead chips are usually only available during Chinese New Year. Making these at home yields a clean tasting chip without the smell of rancid oil commonly found in the factory-produced variety.


Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Peel the arrowheads using a vegetable peeler, leaving the stalk on to use as a handle.
  2. Rinse the arrowheads thoroughly.
  3. Slice the bottom of the arrowhead off to produce a flat surface.
  4. Using the stalk as a handle, slice thinly on a mandoline.
  5. Heat a wok of oil until 180 degrees C. You can also test the heat with a wooden chopstick. If tiny bubbles are seen at the end of the chopstick, the oil is ready. Turn the heat down to medium.
  6. Deep-fry the chips, adding them one at a time to prevent sticking. Once golden brown, remove from the oil. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack and store in an air-tight container.

3. What are the best tips for packaging CNY cookies?

There’s no better way to show your appreciation for your loved ones this Chinese New Year than with a tub of homemade cookies. Instead of just using common red plastic tubs, jazz up your handmade treats with some of these ideas to earn extra points from relatives.

  • Use ribbons in red and gold: Red and gold are auspicious colours commonly used in Chinese New Year decorations. Tying your cookie tubs in satin ribbons using these festive colours adds a special touch.
  • Add an information label: Stick on a label indicating the name of the cookie, ingredients and best before date. Be sure to indicate if your cookies contain egg, gluten, dairy and/or nuts, which is especially important information for those with allergies.
  • Add a small personalised note: Express your sincerity through a personalised note addressed to the person you’re gifting to. Add a few auspicious sayings and wish them good fortune in the new year.
  • Use stickers: Festive stickers are readily available at shops that sell Chinese New Year decorations. Buy a few different designs and let your children decorate the cookie tubs.

4. What are the best CNY goodies to buy?

As much as you’d like to make your own artisanal cookies at home, Chinese New Year is an extremely busy time with many errands to run and things to prepare. In spite of your best efforts, you might end up not having the time to make all of your favourite goodies this CNY 2020. So what are the most time-consuming goodies to make which you should just leave to the professionals? Here’s a quick list:

  • Love letters
  • Hae bi hiam rolls
  • Kueh lapis
  • Bakkwa
  • Kueh bangkit

With Chinese New Year 2020 just around the corner, consider making your own cookies this year and get the whole family involved. With these easy and innovative Chinese New Year cookie recipes, you can enjoy the fruits of your labour and also impress your friends and relatives with lovingly handmade treats. If time is not on your side, simply head over to Giant and take your pick from the wide variety of Lunar New Year snacks that are both tasty and affordable. Learn more about Giant’s ongoing CNY promotions and how to make your CNY 2020 extra huat.

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